At Evergreen House, getting in the spirit Home: Blending history and shopping, the Carriage House Collection has become a pre-holiday tradition.

November 02, 1997|By JoAnne C. Broadwater | JoAnne C. Broadwater,Special to the Sun

More than half a century has passed since the late John Work Garrett and his wife Alice Warder Garrett held magnificent parties at their beloved Evergreen House.

But the tradition of hospitality lives on at the elegant pre-Civil War historic house and museum, where several thousand visitors are expected next weekend for the 41st Carriage House Collection at Evergreen.

The occasion has become a tradition in Baltimore for the early holiday season, blending history and shopping with grace and style.

"It's everything you want your holidays to be," said Julie Fader Gilbert, marketing coordinator for the event. "Evergreen is such a magical place that suddenly you'll find yourself in the holiday spirit."

Sponsored by The Women's Board of The Johns Hopkins Hospital, the event is organized with the help of about 150 volunteers who hope to raise more than $100,000 for patient care.

While shopping for unusual treasures at upscale boutiques on the grounds of the 26-acre estate, guests may also tour rooms at the classical revival mansion on North Charles Street where the philanthropic Garretts created a home for the arts.

Rooms will be decorated with floral arrangements by local designers to re-create historic moments of the Garretts: a holiday wedding, a turn-of-the-century Thanksgiving, a musicale. Pieces of Maryland sterling silver will be displayed in each room.

"We hope to give visitors a deeper insight into the period," said Lyn Cook, chairman of the floral designers committee. "Each room has been researched carefully and given a theme evoking a particular time or event that will reflect the elegance and grandeur of Evergreen."

The dining-room table will be set with diplomatic china and crystal for a party given by Garrett during the 1920s when he was ambassador to Italy.

At its center will be a 3- to 4-foot-long arrangement, perhaps of evergreens and berries adorned with ornate Christmas balls, said Rick Letmate, designer-manager for the Harford Road location of the Flower Cart.

On the window sills, mantelpiece and side tables, look for boxwood topiaries, a simple vase of French tulips or perhaps a bowl of Christmas balls. The bold colors of the dining room will be reflected in the arrangements in vibrant honey-yellow, red, burgundy and rust, Letmate said.

The reception room will be decorated for a late 19th-century Christmas morning by Christine Phillips, owner of Fleur de Lis Florist. Phillips plans a Christmas tree and mantel arrangement that may include raffia, evergreens, fragrant flowers, birdseed, peppers and historically accurate ornaments.

Hydrangea, gardenias and roses that might have come from the garden outside may be seen in the drawing room, where a 1930s' debutante party is to be held. Baltimore floral stylist Eleanor Oster plans to decorate the mantels, display a bouquet and place a large arrangement on the piano for afternoon tea.

Preparations for a feast will be under way in the butler's pantry. Diane Pappas and Kathy Quinn of Mille Fleurs will display herb topiaries and gathering baskets spilling over with fruits, vegetables and flowers that may include hydrangea and caramel and rust-colored Leonidas roses.

"We want it to be a warm space, almost as if you could smell things cooking," Pappas said.

Outside the mansion, about 50 exhibitors from across the country will display their wares in heated tents.

"It's going to be marvelous," said Joanne Schill, chairman of the exhibitors committee. "It's a wonderful opportunity for some fun Christmas shopping. You'll see gifts that you can't find in your local mall. There's something for everyone."

Patrons return year after year for Beverly's English toffee, sterling jewelry from Hi-Ho Silver, fine men's clothing from the Andover Shop and exquisite jewelry designs from Mish New York.

Handmade sterling silver picture frames are perfect for wedding photos. And many a Christmas stocking will be stuffed with Vermont jams and marvelous seafood sauces.

New this year will be the chic women's clothing from Lorraine Parish, one-of-a-kind hand-sculpted Santas for the mantel, and French silhouettes and collages.

Don't miss the Roche Leather handbags and briefcases, painted furniture, hats of all kinds, Baltimore etchings, hand-painted floor cloths, 19th-century English linens, fresh boxwood wreaths, usable Chinese porcelain and clothing for your favorite doll.

"It's a fun, fun event," said Susan Cashman, chairwoman of the Carriage House Collection. "It has a special atmosphere."

A preview party will be held Friday from 6: 30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets are $100. New this year will be a live auction featuring holiday getaways.

Also, about 170 items have been donated for a silent auction, which closes at 2: 30 p.m. Monday. Included are an antique six-piece sterling silver service and a late-19th-century wicker cradle on a stand, said Mary J. Moses, committee chairman.

At Evergreen

What: Carriage House Collection at Evergreen

When: Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Monday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Where: Evergreen House, 4545 N. Charles St.

Cost: $8; children under 12 admitted free

Call: 410-955-9341

Pub Date: 11/02/97

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